A collective approach to public transport?
I love LA’s metro. Unfortunately, the nearest station is a 20-25 minute walk away, and it’s the most unpleasant walk under highway overpasses and garbage-strewn streets. I’ll take the bus downtown, as it’s an easy 10-15 hop, but forget about taking it to Santa Monica—city buses are not a pleasant, comfortable means to cross a city has large as Los Angeles. Metrolink is great to go to Orange County and the Inland Empire, but it only runs weekdays . . . at rush hour. We keep discussing ways to deal with traffic—make Pico and Olympic one-way streets, use smart technology to synchronize traffic lights and to give buses a more direct route when traipsing across town. What about using a Latin American approach? When I visited Chile a few years back, I got around the coast not by bus or taxi, but by collectivo. You stand on the street, hail what looks like a cab, and you pay the driver based on the distance you traveled. Hong Kong has a similar system—called minibuses or maxi taxis. Why not try an approach like this in LA? Think about it—most commuting, whether for work or for pleasure, occurs on our city’s iconic streets: Sunset, Santa Monica, Beverly, Hollywood, Vermont, Alvarado, Olympic, Wilshire, 3rd, Olympic, Westwood, Western, Fairfax . . . I could go on and on. We could use hybrid or LPG/LNG fueled sedans for a collectivo fleet. If you’re in a bind and don’t want to pay for a taxi, and dread the bus, this could be a great alternative—have dinner on Third Street, then dessert at the Farmer’s Market, followed by karaoke in Koreatown. Let corporations sponsor the cars (we have billboards aplenty anyhow), and figure out the most traveled routes in LA. Perhaps these could go up and down the main drags, or perhaps there’s an often traveled Wilshire/Fairfax/Santa Monica route that we didn’t realize. Maybe one of the Mayor’s aides can point this out to Antonio has he’s glad handling across our city in his . . . SUV. Call me crazy, but this could be one part of the trouble to get more cars off of the streets . . . since I think we can’t take the subway to the sea until . . . 2030 . . .
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